Lawmakers on the legislature’s Transportation Committee yesterday discussed the success of the Taiwanese television miniseries The Teenage Psychic (通靈少女), with some questioning if the series’ success was momentary or provided a permanent solution that the broadcasting industry needs to counter the effects of online media.
The committee heard a briefing by the National Communications Commission (NCC) before unfreezing part of its budget.
Several lawmakers asked in a question-and-answer session if NCC Chairwoman Nicole Chan (詹婷怡) had seen the TV series, which was produced by the Public Television Service (PTS), Singapore’s InFocus Asia and HBO, and is based on a true story.
Photo courtesy of HBO Asia
The series’ finale, which aired on Sunday last week, reached a rating of 4.4, the highest rating that the PTS has ever achieved.
Most of the nation’s TV channels are struggling to reach 1.
Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Cheng Pao-ching (鄭寶清) asked if the series was a one-hit wonder or an indicator that the television industry has found a way out.
DPP Legislator Chen Ou-po (陳歐珀) said that Sanlih Entertainment TV, which is known for its popular series, has laid off many of its employees since last year.
He said that advertisement revenue of cable and satellite channels have fallen 12.5 percent in the first quarter of this year, while terrestrial TV channels saw their advertisement revenue fall 35 percent during the same period.
Some industry experts expect some TV channels to close down this year, he said
Chen said that the Forward-looking Infrastructure Development Program includes a project to revive the film and TV industry, adding that the nation lacks trained actors and screenplays telling good stories.
DPP Legislator Chung Chia-pin (鍾佳濱) asked about Chan’s overall impression of the TV series.
Chan said its production was on point, adding that the story has a strong selling point and the actors did a good job.
She said that the series would not be a temporary success and should inspire investors to fund more projects.
The NCC should ask TV channels to fulfill the percentage of self-produced programs stipulated in broadcasting regulations, she said.
Chan said that the commission encourages TV operators to jointly produce programs to resolve funding issues.
“If we can have one or two projects like the Teenage Psychic as examples of how Taiwanese programs can be marketed internationally, people in other nations can see that Taiwan has the talent and the capacity to produce quality films or TV series. This would lead to a virtuous circle,” she said.
In other developments, lawmakers asked Chan to resolve some telecom service issues.
Chen, representing an electoral district in Yilan County, said that the commission should make Wi-Fi services available along the railway line on the nation’s east coast by the end of this year, as the service is to become available for high-speed rail passengers on the west coast before August.
Cheng said that the commission should no longer allow Asia Pacific Telecom to lease the network built by Taiwan Telecom, adding that the commission should “toughen up” and revoke the licenses of both carriers if they continue the illegal act.
Chunghwa Telecom subscribers should be given at least a 20 percent discount on their monthly fees as mobile Internet services have slowed down due to severed undersea cables, Cheng said.
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